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Rad Community Technical Discussion Boards (Computer Hardware + PC Software) >> Norton Ghost 2003,  Ghost v8.x + Ghost Solution Suite (GSS) Discussion Board >> Stuck in Ghost Virtual Partition - Can't reboot XP

Message started by Wiseman on Mar 20th, 2007 at 6:29am

Title: Stuck in Ghost Virtual Partition - Can't reboot XP
Post by Wiseman on Mar 20th, 2007 at 6:29am
Hi, I am posting this for 2 reasons – as a thanks to all the other people who have shared their experiences and  who’s info I read in these great forums and to set out how I resolved it, in case it helps anyone else who has same the misfortune.

The problem occurred when I tried to use Norton Ghost 2003 to “clone” my hard drive onto a USB removable hard drive. The cloning process failed (I believe because as Ghost boots into DOS, it didn’t have the correct drivers for my USB drive and therefore couldn’t perform the clone). Unfortunately, the process then hangs up and you are left at the Ghost GUI blank screen with an hour glass cursor stuck in the middle of the screen. The only way out is to reboot your PC.

This is where the real problem happens – when you reboot, the machine seems to get stuck in the “virtual partition” that Ghost created and you can only get into PC DOS. None of the menu options to “return to windows” works. Similarly, in my case the recovery option provided by Symantec of typing and running “Ghreboot” also failed.

I contacted Symantec for help on their on-line support and after loads of explaining to an ‘Expert’, he promptly told me that “Symantec no longer supports Norton Ghost 2003, and he recommends that I upgrade!” Difficult to do when your machine is completed crashed by their software – I wont repeat my response here to his “Have a Great Day!” farewell……

After several days of heartache, I finally found the solution which worked for me and is described below (Please note I am not very technical and certainly no expert – the following is me simply sharing how I got out of the problem):

I downloaded a Win98 bootable floppy from the internet, thanks very much to this site:   http://www.onecomputerguy.com/software_download.htm

I then used this to boot the machine up.
I then put the Norton Ghost Original CD into the CD Drive (which is mapped to X: conveniently if you have used the same bootable floppy from the site above)

Now refer to Symantec’s web site and follow these instructions to change the active partition from the one Ghost created, back to your original one:

How to restart the computer into Windows if a problem is encountered after running Ghost 2003:

When following the above, I noted that it doesn’t tell you to change to the Support directory on the CD, which you need to:

<CD drive letter>:
cd support
gdisk 1 /status /i

Note that I needed to use the extra /i switch to make it work.

Similarly I needed to use the same /i switch added to Step 7 to make the activation of the other partition work (the Symantec notes don’t tell you that you can do this):

gdisk 1 /act /p:x /i

When you have completed the above steps, remove the floppy and CD and reboot the machine. It should now reboot using the original partition and Win XP should load.

I found that it didn’t automatically delete the Ghost Virtual Partition on my machine, but I have not been brave enough to follow steps 10 onwards, as I am just happy to be back in windows. (I suspect the next steps to delete the Ghost partition would work for me adding the /i switch as before).

Hope this helps someone else and thanks to the Forum guys!

Title: Re: Stuck in Ghost Virtual Partition - Can't reboo
Post by NightOwl on Mar 20th, 2007 at 9:02am

Thanks for sharing--good references.

The */i* switch (or parameter) from a link from within the Symantec FAQ referenced above:

Switches: GDisk and GDisk32 for Norton Ghost 2003


Ignore direct IDE disk-access support.

Title: Re: Stuck in Ghost Virtual Partition - Can't reboo
Post by Rad on Mar 20th, 2007 at 2:47pm
Yeah, thanks for sharing.

Title: Re: Stuck in Ghost Virtual Partition - Can't reboo
Post by kd6aaj on May 16th, 2007 at 1:34am
Fdisk.exe works also.

The problem occurs because you are supposed to run ghreboot.exe afterwards to reset the active partition.

Obviously, if Ghost hangs for some reason, you won't get the prompt to run ghreboot.exe

I did that once and fixed it with Fdisk.
I just deleted the ghost partition, then set the NTFS disk0, partition0 as active.

PS, FDISK would not work from my usb mem stick because it was running as a HD, not a floppy. Floppy or cdrom (floppy boot image) works.


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